Loud and Quiet originated as a home-printed fanzine with a circulation of 150 copies. Since 2005, this free monthly ‘music rag’ paper has captured a wide readership and established itself as the vanguard for spotting the next big thing in the music world.
This year, Loud and Quiet is marking its tenth anniversary with ‘10 Years of Loud and Quiet: A Photography Exhibition’ at Olso in Hackney. The magazine is famed for its striking design and an extensive list of contributing photographers. This exhibition showcases 20 seminal images, just a small sample of those that have graced the pages of the magazine over the past decade.
The photographs are displayed in an unconventional venue space, scattered across the walls of the Olso bar and kitchen. They mostly hang in clusters of two, three and four frames together, making a bit of exploration necessary to spot them. It’s apt — the somewhat careless display is as understated as the images themselves, which focus on the subject without fussy framing and little pretence.
Some of the artists captured include: The Horrors, Graham Coxon, Bat For Lashes, Metronomy and David Lynch. Other more underground artists are also represented, including Swedish experimental fusion band, Goat — they appear completely masked, providing one of the most visually intriguing images in the collection. They hadn’t agreed to appear in a music magazine before this shoot.
The crown of the collection is the shot of David Lynch, which shows the surrealist director against a plain background in an opened collar shirt and jacket. He glances through the lens from behind his sunglasses with a robust gaze — there’s a vast amount of personality captured in such a simple image. It’s a sharp picture, leaping from the frame to beguile the viewer.
Many of the artists photographed are young and unknown (at the time), naturally projecting a suggestion of vulnerability. In particular, the images of Grimes and The Horrors show teenagers who might easily be mistaken for ruffians in the street with their unkempt hair and strained apathetic expressions. The Grimes photograph is engaging, where she intensely stares out of the frame while obstructing most of her face with her hands.
Some of the photographs capture a more energetic side of their subjects, such as Bat For Lashes, who is photographed in a cherry red dress with novelty heart-shaped sunglasses perched upon her head. The image has a playful, retro charm. There is also Graham Coxon, shown in a backyard, casually propped against a doorframe. He is captured in a domestic moment of silent thought, surrounded by a composter and potted plants.
Now that NME is circulating as a free music magazine, it might be easy to overlook the stalwarts of independent music fanzines. However, devoted readers know that Loud and Quiet has demonstrated the perennial ability to spot upcoming stars — usually months ahead of their name being printed anywhere else, NME included. In ten years, Loud and Quiet has offered unparalleled artistic freedom to its contributing photographers, setting it apart from other widely distributed music magazines. Seeing these photographs up close really solidifies the zeitgeist of the publication — the understated snapshot of the artists, who are inherently the point of interest, with no background noise.
‘10 Years of Loud and Quiet Magazine: A Photography Exhibition’ is running until the 13th November, 2015 at Oslo with free entry: